Syrian woman gives birth to quintuplets weeks after fleeing Iraq

News Stories, 20 August 2014

© UNHCRPhoto
The five newborn babies take a nap in a Qamishli hospital in north-east Syria.

QAMISHLI, Syria, August 20 (UNHCR) A 27-year-old Syrian woman has given birth to quintuplets in northern Syria weeks after fleeing her home in neighbouring Iraq on foot.

Tamam, an ethnic Yazidi, gave birth by Caesarean section last Thursday at a hospital in the city of Qamishli. "She gave birth in the seventh month of her pregnancy, but thank God the mother and babies are all in good health," a doctor at the private hospital told UNHCR. The five babies have not yet had their births registered.

The woman, a Syrian national, is among tens of thousands of people who have fled violence in northern Iraq since June, including many who have sought shelter in Syria. They include tens of thousands of Yazidis from Iraq's Sinjar area.

Tamam moved to the city of Mosul last year after marrying an Iraqi man. They escaped after armed militants captured the city, Iraq's second largest, last June. "We had to walk for two days before we reached the [Syrian] border," she said, adding that she and her husband were with seven other Yazidi families and only had a bottle of water to share.

She is currently staying at her parents' house near Qamishli and worries about how to take care of her newborn babies and meet their needs. "We will not be able to provide nappies and milk for five children because of our poor financial situation," she revealed. Tamam's husband is jobless and none of her siblings work. UNHCR has provided her with nappies, sanitary napkins and a cash grant.

UNHCR is coordinating the UN response in Syria to the Yazidi refugee crisis. Since August 8, UNHCR and other UN and humanitarian agencies have been delivering life-saving supplies to everyone within reach.

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Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

As world concern grows over the plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, including more than 200,000 refugees, UNHCR staff are working around the clock to provide vital assistance in neighbouring countries. At the political level, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was due on Thursday (August 30) to address a closed UN Security Council session on Syria.

Large numbers have crossed into Lebanon to escape the violence in Syria. By the end of August, more than 53,000 Syrians across Lebanon had registered or received appointments to be registered. UNHCR's operations for Syrian refugees in Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley resumed on August 28 after being briefly suspended due to insecurity.

Many of the refugees are staying with host families in some of the poorest areas of Lebanon or in public buildings, including schools. This is a concern as the school year starts soon. UNHCR is urgently looking for alternative shelter. The majority of the people looking for safety in Lebanon are from Homs, Aleppo and Daraa and more than half are aged under 18. As the conflict in Syria continues, the situation of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon remains precarious.

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

By mid-September, more than 200,000 Syrian refugees had crossed the border into Turkey. UNHCR estimates that half of them are children, and many have seen their homes destroyed in the conflict before fleeing to the border and safety.

The Turkish authorities have responded by building well-organized refugee camps along southern Turkey's border with Syria. These have assisted 120,000 refugees since the crisis conflict erupted in Syria. There are currently 12 camps hosting 90,000 refugees, while four more are under construction. The government has spent approximately US$300 million to date, and it continues to manage the camps and provide food and medical services.

The UN refugee agency has provided the Turkish government with tents, blankets and kitchen sets for distribution to the refugees. UNHCR also provides advice and guidelines, while staff from the organization monitor voluntary repatriation of refugees.

Most of the refugees crossing into Turkey come from areas of northern Syria, including the city of Aleppo. Some initially stayed in schools or other public buildings, but they have since been moved into the camps, where families live in tents or container homes and all basic services are available.

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

The violence inside Syria continues to drive people from their homes, with some seeking shelter elsewhere in their country and others risking the crossing into neighbouring countries. The United Nations estimates that up to 4 million people are in need of help, including some 2 million believed to be internally displaced.

The UN refugee agency has 350 staff working inside Syria. Despite the insecurity, they continue to distribute vital assistance in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Al Hassakeh and Homs. Thanks to their work and dedication, more than 350,000 people have received non-food items such as blankets, kitchen sets and mattresses. These are essential items for people who often flee their homes with no more than the clothes on their backs. Cash assistance has been given to more than 10,600 vulnerable Syrian families.

Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

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